Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within
Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within (titled Clock Tower: Ghost Head in the original Japanese version) is a game created by Human Entertainment for the Sony PlayStation in 1998.
Why It Sucks
- Americanization: One of the biggest flaws the game is infamous for is how its setting was altered in the American release. The story actually takes place in Osaka, but in the American version, the information and dialogue were altered to say that it takes place in the Californian city Salinas, and all the characters had their names changed to the western ones. As a result, all the characters, things and buildings have Japanese likenesses, but the game blatantly tells the player that this is North America.
- The cutscenes are way too long, and if the player manages to skip cutscenes, it will also skip the scenes when the player is attacked by an enemy.
- (SPOILER) The game has an extremely convoluted and messed up storyline, full of plot holes and loose ends. Instead of giving answers through the game course, the game requires the player to achieve all the endings in order to unlock a menu with the biographies of the characters, but it turns out that many plot elements aren't explained at all or had a very unsatisfying explanation. Example: a scene clearly showing a ghost leaving the body of a girl was just a hallucination and she was not possessed at all. The game's narrative was even unfavorably compared with the first Silent Hill at the time it was released.
- The game relies on artificial difficulty in order to have "over 30 hours of gameplay" as it is advertised on the box. However, it did far worse than any classic NES game. The game has 13 endings, but only 4 have the protagonist surviving. All the other 9 endings actually are just the protagonist being murdered and the player having to start all over again because the game will save automatically after you got one of these bad endings.
- In Chapter 1, if the player won't examine a set of armor early, they will be locked into the bad "Ending G" and will discover this only in the final chapter, having to start all over again for the better endings. The game will also stimulate the player to not examine the armor, because examining the armor turns it into an invincible enemy that will stalk the player numerous times during the chapter.
- Also in Chapter 1, not using a key to lock a demon child in a bedroom will lock the player in the second bad ending, "Ending L". There is no clue pointing at that using the key on the door will make the protagonist lock her inside.
- At the end of the same chapter, the player has about five seconds to pick up an item on the floor. Not doing so will have the protagonist being killed in the "Ending I", and this can happen various times because the item on the floor is barely visible.
- The Chapter 2 is cruel. The player must examine four spots in the scenario, three with one character and one with the other. There is no hint that the player must do this in order to kill an antagonist that prevents the player from leaving the area to the next chapter.
- During Chapter 3, the player is forced to backtrack through several rooms to use a fire extinguisher in order to get rid of zombies chasing them. This happens dozens of times for no reason other than being a filler.
- If you trigger an event that locks you into a bad ending, the game doesn't tell you nor gives you any chance to undo the event. Meaning you could continue your playthrough for hours unaware that you can't beat the game and then be forced to start all over again.
- Terrible navigation: The game never gives any clue on what you're supposed to do or any hints on how to progress, and when you do make any progress there's never any clear indication that you did. This is made worse by the game having some very convoluted puzzles and events that are near impossible to figure out using player intuition.
- One of the main game mechanics is changing between two personalities, but it quickly turns out being a boring chore rather than something interesting. You must let the enemies attack you on purpose in order to change personalities, and talking with a character with a certain personality may trigger a bad ending with no warning about this whatsoever. Actually, 5 out of the 9 bad endings are triggered this way!
- Also, Alyssa's alternate personality, Bates, almost never comments on the scenarios or finds an important item. This leads to the player being biased into playing as Alyssa, in order to inspect the rooms. This is terrible because Bates is the only one able to find a minority of the key items.
- (SPOILER) On some occasions, the characters behave out of context and do nonsensical actions. The worst case is Alyssa laughing in the FMV cutscene of the "Ending A" despite the fact that she left behind (to certain death) her adoptive father a few minutes before this.
- Zombies are not scary at all. They have generic green skin, empty white eyes and bleed yellow blood instead of having a gory or outright creepy appearance.
- Considering the hardware limitations, the game has good graphics.
- It has one of the best soundtracks for a horror game on the PS1.
- Two of the antagonists, Stephanie Tate and George Maxwell, are really creepy.
- The game has some genuinely frightening moments here and there.
- The supporting characters are likable, and their fates depend on the player's actions.
- Chapter 2 ends with a fun minigame in which you play as a policeman and must shoot various zombies before they reach you.
This is actually supposed to be the third game in the series, which is a numberless spin-off. The confusion with the titles is a result of the first game never being released outside of Japan.